Buying a Home is Not Always Love at First Sight

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While grocery shopping, I was surprised by the balloons and chocolate covered candy that seemed to come from nowhere. What happened to January? I picked up some treats for my husband and daughter and made a mental note to plan more time with the ones I hold dear.

As February is the love month, that got me thinking about the pressure some clients put on themselves to find a house that makes them swoon. My advice, though, is that if you buy a house based on emotions, you’re in for heartbreak. While it’s nice to be swept up by all of the family gatherings you can host in the backyard, it’s also important to take a step back and make sure you’re getting a great house for a good value. This is an investment, after all.

A Hollywood Romance

If you watch cable house-hunting shows like I do, they make buying a home might look like a perfect fairy-tale story. But the truth is the process is much more nuanced than picking the best property out of three options, or changing your mind on an offer because the flooring isn’t right.

HGTV makes for great entertainment and a wonderful resource for design inspiration, but it’s important to remember that every open house will not have the glossy perfection that you’re used to seeing. Oftentimes when you do walk into a home that looks like it belongs in the pages of Architectural Digest, the bids and competition will be higher than usual in an already competitive market.

This is not to say that you can’t find your love match! On the contrary. The key is to know what you want, be patient and thorough in your search and be as targeted with your bid as Cupid’s arrow (read more tips here).

What Are You Looking For?

One of the ways to avoid getting caught up in emotion is to make a checklist. I know this may feel cheesy, but it really does work. There is a lot to consider when buying your new or next home and taking a moment to be mindful about the things that are important to you really helps put everything into perspective.

There are plenty of ‘home-buying needs vs. wants’ templates you can download online, but you can start simply by making two columns on a sheet of paper. Then think about things that are important to you like home size, neighborhood, storage space, commute time, an office, a pool, and then categorize them by nice-to-haves and need-to-haves.

Remember, just because an item is on your nice-to-have column doesn’t rule it out in your search, but it’s a way to highlight your true priorities.

Play the Field

Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to play the field. It’s never a good idea to buy the first house you look at, just like it’s not a good idea to marry your first crush from third grade. It’s important to see several properties so that you can compare features, fixtures and layouts.

Another great benefit is that you won’t be consumed with buyer’s remorse. If you buy without looking at several homes, you could end up feeling as though you've made a mistake. If you still love the first house you saw after visiting a few more listings, you can be confident in your decision to make an offer.

Beyond a Pretty Face

You’ll find that many houses are not staged, some might not even be clean or tidy, and, if it’s empty, it may not be connected to the power grid. This can be off-putting to say the least, but try your best to look past it and look at the things that can’t be changed, like the location or lot size.

During your viewing, be sure to refer to that list you made to keep you in-check. This way you won’t get enticed by the cosmetics, or the lack thereof. It’s easy to be awed by an over-the-top Jacuzzi tub and rainfall shower head, when what you really need is a double sink in the master bath so that you and your partner can get ready in the mornings without getting in each other’s way.

Before walking into a home, I always ask my clients to forget the décor and look at the potential of the space. As we walk through, we talk about their furniture and how it would fit in the room. I also point out that the things like draperies, blinds, awnings, or lighting fixtures might not be part of the contract for the home, so it’s best to look at the space like a blank canvas.

Pop the Question

The market in Vero Beach is similar to the national trend right now, which is that there isn’t a ton of inventory to choose from. So, you will find that you need to spend a lot of hours scouring the internet and even more time spent going to see homes and open houses on weekends. When you do find the home that makes the most sense for you and your family, you’ll want to present a fair offer quickly. You won’t be the only bidder, so it’s important to be patient and not make any moving plans until your offer has been accepted. Even the best offers may be ‘countered’ by the seller.

At this stage, it is essential to know the maximum amount you can afford and stick to it. If it’s meant to be, she’ll be yours in due time.


If you’re interested in learning more about the Vero Beach housing and rental markets, reach out to Colleen Rodriguez at (954) 804-6804 or She is always available to chat and offers up sound advice that isn’t stuffy or filled with jargon, which is as refreshing as a swim in Jaycee Beach.